I’ve been on a roll for the past month or so. After a long time – maybe a couple of years – not making this type of cake, I flirted with a few different methods, including some by very reputable sources, but they did not please me for one reason or another. In this post, I share a very simple recipe. Simple in the sense that you don’t have to separate egg whites and yolks, it rolls very well thanks to the addition of a very small amount of melted butter, and the texture is not dry like most versions, again kudos to butter. Plus, you won’t need a special size of baking pan, it works well in a half-sheet, which most people have in their kitchen. You can of course, skip the patterned decoration, but, why would you not go for it?

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the decoration:
50g butter, softened
50g powdered sugar
50g egg whites
50g all-purpose flour
pink, yellow and teal gel colors

for the cake:
130g cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 large eggs, at room temperature
200 g granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

For the filling:
170g (6 ounces) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup powdered sugar
½ cup Nutella
1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Make the piping decoration by beating the butter with powdered sugar in a small bowl until fully combined. I used a hand-held electric mixer. Add the egg whites and beat for a couple of minutes. Add the flour and mix by hand with a spoon, divide in three portions. Color them pink, yellow and teal.

Place a diamond stencil over a sheet of parchment paper and add small amounts of each color as shown in the composite picture included in my post. Spread the colors in one direction, trying not to move them back, but making sure to cover all the little diamonds. Carefully remove the stencil frame and freeze the parchment for 30 minutes or so.

Heat oven to 375°F. Sift the flour and baking powder into a small bowl. Reserve. Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until the mixture form ribbons, about 12 minutes. Add the lemon zest, lemon extract and vanilla. Beat until combined. Sift the flour mixture over the beaten eggs, fold gently. When the flour is mostly incorporated, add a little bit of the mixture to the melted butter, whisk well. Pour that into the cake batter, whisk gently to disperse. Pour over the frozen parchment paper placed in a half baking sheet, and smooth the surface.

Bake the cake until it begins to pull away from the sides, about 12 minutes.

Transfer the pan to a cooling rack, cover the cake with a towel and let it cool fr 10 minutes. Remove the towel, sift a little powdered sugar over the surface and flip it over parchment paper. Gently peel off the paper with the design, flip the cake again over a clean towel. Starting with a short side of the cake, roll the cake gently, using the towel to support the cake as you go. Let the cake cool all rolled up in the towel, seam side down.

While cake cools make filling by using a handheld mixer or standing mixer to beat cream cheese and heavy cream on high until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add ½ cup powdered sugar, Nutella, and cocoa powder. Start the mixer on low and slowly increase speed, beating until the filling is light and fluffy. The filling should be thick and spreadable. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, so that it sets a little.

Carefully unroll the completely cool cake, spread the filling, then roll it again. Wrap the cake in plastic and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, overnight is best. When ready to serve, slice a small piece of each of the ends, so that it looks more polished.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: For this pattern, I used three colors of the paste, and placed them in alternating spots over the large stencil, that covers the whole surface of the half-sheet. The thickness of the stencil determines the amount of paste that gets into the paper. The design transfers very well to the surface of the cake, and does not interfere with rolling it.

I’ve had this stencil frame for many years, bought it on eBay, but could not find it anymore.
This one is very similar, in case you are interested.

If you don’t have a stencil frame, there are plenty of alternatives to decorate, one of them drawing little flowers on the paper, and pouring the batter on top. Two things are important to remember: first, the design cannot be too large, or it will pull the cake during baking, and might even make a crack in those spots. Second, the layer of the design should be as thin as possible, because it you make it too thick, it might not incorporate well into the cake batter, and pull away during baking. Make sure to use white parchment paper, because it helps keeping the cake layer lighter, giving better contrast with whatever pattern you go for.

The Nutella filling is excellent! I’ve used it to fill macarons a couple of days later. The cream cheese does a little magic to cut the sweetness of Nutella. It has a wonderful spreadable consistency, but the macarons stored in the fridge held up pretty well, once moved to room temperature for 20 minutes or so. I hope you give it a try, either to fill a regular cake, make sandwich cookies, or…. a patterned roll cake!

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